All I remember getting that year for Christmas was a little red metal fire engine. I was 4 years old, and in the spring of 1950 after my sister was born we moved to a new farm north of Alpena, AR.
I had been warned to not leave the fire engine laying around in the yard where it could be damaged or run over with the family car. I did not heed that piece of advice and so, not long after the move dad was backing his 1937 ford coupe in the back yard and there was the sound of a certain crunch. It was my little red fire engine. I grabbed it as soon as I could after dad pulled forward, but it was beyond recognition, let alone repair.
Was I sad? Yes. Was I upset? Yes. Was there any expectation that dad would get me another one? No! It was my responsibility, and I had blown it. I did not even ask for a new one. I did not expect a new one. I had already learned from my mom and dad that there are consequences to not being responsible. It is a simple thing to teach, and a simple thing to learn.
Now I did not know anything about the word “stewardship.” Nor any Scripture that might have taught it, but I learned the Biblical principle. When we fail to learn proper stewardship (caring for things entrusted to us) how can we expect others to practice it? When Americans live on 105% of their income, and waste precious resources, how can we expect the government to act any differently?
Every time I hear a fire engine go out on a run, I feel a sense of gratitude that they did not do with that big fire engine what I did with that little toy fire engine.
Dad did not yell at me, or scold me, He just said, “sorry son, that’s what happens when you are careless with your things.”
In America, our material blessings have become weights around our necks and we have lost our focus of what is really important. It may take a generation or two of doing without a lot of things we take for granted today, to restore our sense of balance and our willingness to be responsible stewards.
The Scripture teaches that all belongs to God. And if He can’t trust us with something, He will not let us take care of it. The “fat” years have passed, now we are entering the “lean” years. Yet they may prove to be the most blessed of all.
A story is told of a family moving into a neighborhood next door to a Quaker family. After the Quaker husband and father had watched the large trucks with an enormous amount of material being unloaded he decided to go over and welcome his new neighbor. He said to him, "Welcome friend, to the neighborhood, if thou findest that thou needest something call for me and I will come over and show thee how thou canst do without it."
THOT: A FAMILY CAN BE DESTROYED AS EASILY AS A LITTLE RED FIRE ENGINE, AND TRAGICALLY, IT MAY BE BEYOND REPAIR. LET’S ALL PRACTICE BETTER STEWARDSHIP.